Francis Coquelin The Defensive Midfielder Arsenal Needs?


The outcry for the past year or so for Arsenal has been to sign a physical, big bodied enforcer to play in the deep-lying midfielder role. But has the player we needed been in the squad the whole time?

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Francis Coquelin has played in seven games so far this year and accumulated 389 minutes. But those 389 minutes have been some of the most dominant minutes I’ve seen from an Arsenal defensive midfielder in quite some time. In fact, let’s take a look at how those seven game averages weigh up against some of the best defensive midfielders in the league, on average (via Squawka)

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As you can see from the stats, Coquelin is a monster. But it’s only been seven games.

In his latest outing against Manchester City, Coquelin had 7 headers won (88%), 2 tackles won (100%), 6 interceptions, 11 clearances and 3 blocks. Those are near centre back numbers from a midfielder.

The sample size is small but promising.

Coquelin looked absolutely dominant on the ball. He was confidant, calm, collective and fully in control of the game. I was just as impressed by how he lashed out at Nacho Monreal when the left back was caught out of position. Coquelin is playing with a fire that has been lacking from this team since Jack Wilshere has been out.

It’s going to be exciting to see if Coquelin can keep his string of excellent play going. If he does, I don’t see the need for a defensive midfielder anymore and I’d rather see that cash be used towards getting a real centre back and not just a Tyrone Mings.

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